REA’S ORGANICS RECYCLING SCOTLAND CONFERENCE

Albion team attended The REA Organics Scotland Conference, organised by The Renewable Energy Association and hosted in Aberdeen. This conference allows groups within the organics sector – including local authorities, waste operators, waste management companies, and industry consultants – to come together to discuss the issues facing the Organic Waste Treatment sector. It is the ideal platform to look at innovative developments, current opportunities, and certain challenges and difficulties within the field.

The event started with a visit to an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) site being constructed near Aberdeen’s TECA (The Event Complex Arena). It was fascinating to see the plans for the site, how it would work, and to see the inside of an Anaerobic Digestion tank. Once the AD site is operating, it will produce enough electricity to power TECA. The plant will use 81,000 tonnes of feedstock each year, and this will include Aberdeen’s food waste, along with agricultural wastes and crop fuels.

In Scotland, building more organic waste treatment plants could be crucial in meeting the target to ban any biodegradable municipal waste from entering landfills from 2025 onwards (extended from 2021). This is just one of many important policy targets implement by the Scottish Government, to improve waste management. Another aim in Scotland is to cut food waste by 33% (from the 2013 figure) by 2025.

The first conference speaker covered this topic, by introducing the Scottish Governments Food Waste Reduction Action Plan & explaining the different methods that will be used to minimise food waste. Most of the other speakers, focused on organic waste management. Over the course of the conference, there were multiple interesting talks on a variety of topics, including:

  • Plastics found in organic waste, and what can be done about this
  • Summary of a study tour that explored the methods that Italy use to handle organic wastes
  • The process of building an organic waste treatment plant
  • How Aberdeen is using renewable energy to transform the city
  • Improving the quality of compost outputs from composting sites
  • Panel discussion on promoting the benefits of recycling organic materials

Albion’s very own KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) Associate presented at the conference too. She gave a well-received and engaging talk about bioaerosol monitoring and the benefits of a KTP. The talk included a description of what bioaerosols are,why it is important to monitor them and ways for sites to manage and minimise the risk of bioaerosols.

Bioaerosols are often generated by microorganisms, and high levels of microorganisms are crucial in the process of degrading (and therefore treating) organic wastes. As such, organic waste treatment can be strongly linked to high concentrations of bioaerosols – which can have certain negative health effects for humans. This makes bioaerosol monitoring an important subject.

Going forward a mutual understanding of both the key issues facing organics recyclers and how environmental and health & safety legislation may fit will help progress this KTP. Following on from the KTP, our environmental consultants here at Albion Environmental will have acquired the expertise and in-depth knowledge needed to provide a wide array of bioaerosol services that are useful to any potential clientstargeted specifically at their needs.

Information about the services our environmental consultants can provide can be found here